Gold Medalist Shares Story Of Homophobic Airport Staff

Images via Instagram @douglasouza

Olympic volleyball star Douglas Souza reveals he and his boyfriend dealt with homophobic airport staff while traveling in Europe.

Souza is originally from Brazil and is a gold medal-winning volleyball player. He won the gold with the Brazilian men’s national volleyball team in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games. He also has a massive Instagram following with over 3 million followers.


Yesterday, September 8, Souza retold the unfortunate incident in his Instagram stories. The 26-year-old shared that he had a connection through the Netherlands on his journey to Italy. But unfortunately, the customs and immigration official in charge of him did not respond well to Souza’s boyfriend Gabriel.

“I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to carry this energy, but I’ll tell it more or less,” the athlete started, according to Queerty. “Basically, it was me and my boyfriend, we took a flight from São Paulo to Amsterdam and there we had to go through passport control to go to Rome.”

He added, “Until then everything was calm. By the time we went to control, the guy was super cool, he asked me what I was going to do in Italy, I explained that I was a volleyball player, that I had been hired by that team. Then he asked who Gabriel was and I explained.”


Souza then shares that the customs and immigration officer was visibly affected by the reveal that the two were dating.

“He asked what Gabriel was going to do there, I showed him in the stable union document,” Souza explained. “I said he would accompany me.”

The couple was then moved to a holding area and left there for five hours. After several hours, Souza says he was put into another room and asked what he was going to do there. As Souza says, the entire situation was “strange.”


“They hit the key again about who Gabriel was and I tried to explain that it was my boyfriend and they had a lot of difficulty understanding,” he added. “We had the document of the common-law marriage. They absolutely didn’t want to let Gabriel pass.”

Thankfully, Douglas Souza says the couple was allowed to leave the airport and country after a few more hours.


As Souza says, the situation and story feels somewhat strange. After all, the Netherlands is one of the most progressive countries when it comes to LGBTQ acceptance. It was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage in 2001. The country also declassified homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973 and banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, and more in 1994.

That said, no country or place is completely safe. Homophobes can be found anywhere and everywhere. After all, there have been recent reports of a surge in anti-gay violence in the Netherlands. In that case, however, the violence has been centered around men visiting gay cruising spots. Though, thankfully, four men were recently arrested in connection to those crimes.

As for Douglas Souza and his boyfriend Gabriel, they say they just want to leave the moment in their past.

11 thoughts on “Gold Medalist Shares Story Of Homophobic Airport Staff”

    • Why do you think that? What was irrational based on their post? If you’re gonna call him a fake then I think it’s only fair you have something to back your claim up.

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  2. I would not believe this story. Why? Because that happened to me too. But the reason is much simpler. It’s ignorance towards the immigration rules. Mea culpa!
    The Netherlands entry rules are clear: you cannot enter the country if you are non-EU national without residence in the EU, not married to one, and not coming for one of the allowed reasons (i.e. work, study, etc.)
    Last summer I decided to marry my long-term Mexican boyfriend for exactly this reason: for him to live and travel with me without issues. We were coming from Mexico to London via Amsterdam. We were running out of time because of the Brexit (I am an EU national) and the pandemics. When we were in Amsterdam he was not allowed out of the transit zone. Because we were not married. Rules are rules! I didn’t argue, so no detention or any problems. Yes, I had to check him and his luggage in to the next flight without him at the checkin desk, but everyone was so understanding. I just love Amsterdam!
    So, if they would have a connecting flight instead, and not ignored the rules, this would not happen. Instead they decided to avert our attention from their ignorance and pervert the story. Drama queens!

    • That’s very sad that because you had a positive experience you think the other person is lying. Hope you don’t have to ever go through that.

    • Whenever it’s not our own story, we’re always quick to judge, aren’t we? But we’re not the ones who had to sit alone in a room for 5 hours that could feel like an eternity, specially when we don’t know exactly what was wrong, and had to wait longer to get onto the next flight.
      And to the one that said: boycott Italy, if you read properly, you’d notice that the incident happened in The Netherlands, not Italy.
      I’ve passed through Amsterdam’s airport several times and haven’t encountered any issues. They got targeted as soon as they mentioned their relationship. These guys were ultimately going to Italy, they shouldn’t have gone through immigration in Amsterdam at all. It’s unfortunate that this happened at all, but in the end, the authorities will do what they want to do and as foreigners passing through, there’s not much we can do about it.

    • Agreed. Seems fishy .
      “I don’t want to go into detail”.. in other words: I am gonna ignore the facts and embellish liberally to make drama.


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